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Intermediate Sumerian


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of Sumerian grammar.


Gudea ruled the state of Lagash in southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerian heartland, around 2144-2124 BC. He left behind a large number of inscriptions, including two clay cylinders, which in about 1300 lines of literary Sumerian describe the construction and inauguration of the main temple in Lagash. Gudea’s Sumerian is considered to be the classic form of the language. In this course we will read selected passages from his inscriptions, study their language and script, and discuss their cultural and historical background.
Students participate in the course ‘Sumerian texts: Gudea’. In addition, students will receive tutorials on the basis of their needs and interests.

Course objectives

After this course you can:

  • transliterate the cuneiform script of the Gudea inscriptions,

  • analyze the grammatical structure of complex Sumerian forms and clauses,

  • critically use the principal scholarly literature dealing with the Sumerian language, and

  • translate independently Sumerian texts of intermediate difficulty.


The timetable is available on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar;

  • Tutorials.

Course Load

Total course load 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours:

  • 26 hours attending the seminars;

  • 39 hours preparing the seminars;

  • 15 hours preparing the mid-term assignment;

  • 20 hours preparing for the written exam;

  • 40 hours for writing the final paper.

Students can take this course also for 10 ec (= 280 hours). Please contact the teacher for more information about this option.

Assessment method

Assessment will be in three parts:

  • a mid-term assignment of about 60 lines of Sumerian not treated during the seminars (20% of the final grade);

  • a written exam on the subject matter of the course (50% of the final grade);

  • a paper of c. 2000 words (30% of the final grade).


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written exam must always be sufficient.


If the final grade is below 6.0, the written exam and the paper can be redone.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss their paper and their other results for this seminar (mid-term assignment and exam) individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing study materials and course information;

  • uploading assignments and giving feedback on them.

Reading list

The study materials will be provided through Blackboard at the beginning of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. A.H. (Bram) Jagersma